PDA

View Full Version : Erwin Puts weighs in on the RD-1


Solinar
03-06-2005, 07:36
It looks like Erwin Puts has weighed in on the RD-1. It is mercifully short.

Erwin's RD-1 Review (http://www.imx.nl/photosite/japan/epsonrd1/epsonrd1.html)

Sean Reid
03-06-2005, 08:47
It's pretty fair I think (just gave it a quick read). I just sent him this:

"Hi Erwin,

I enjoyed your R-D1 review. I'm a reviewer myself and just wanted make one factual correction in your report. You must have used a very slow SD card for your RAW cycle testing. With a fast SD card, the camera will make 2 -3 RAW exposures in succession and then pause about 2-3 seconds before the buffer empties sufficiently to make another exposure. SD cards can have a large effect on camera cycle timings so you might want to clarify which card you were testing with to get your timings."

While it may be true that the R-D1 cannot make full use of a Leica lens' resolution, neither can 35mm film. The fact is that the qualities (the drawing) of high-end lenses comes through clearly in R-D1 files.

Cheers,

Sean

Socke
03-06-2005, 09:04
Hm, does he realy know what he`s talking about?
I don't like his "UJM" rethoric and his motorcycle history is all wrong.

But this is where I think he does not know what a digital picture is:

The instruction manual indicates that the JPEG compression ratio is 1:4. But in reality the ratio is 1:11 or 1:12. The file size on the memory card is about 2 million pixels, but when expanding the file to its full potential. It has a size of about 24 million pixels.

Sean Reid
03-06-2005, 09:12
I think he's a little stronger on lenses than he is on digital per se. He is wrong about motorcycle history but only riders like you and I may know or care about that.

Cheers,

Sean
Owner
Northeastern Motorcycle Tours
http://www.motorcycletours.com

Socke
03-06-2005, 09:50
Jep, I read further and I think the review is pretty positve.

As he points out, even a slow recycle time must not be a problem.
Given the need to focus and adjust exposure for every shot, I would be hard pressed to get close to three seconds per shot :-)

For situations in need of 40 frames in five seconds I'll borrow a 1D MkII from one of my PJ friends :-)

RML
03-06-2005, 10:22
He indeed seems pretty positive, which must be quite difficult for him. I've seen some really harsh reviews by him where others were much more positive. But then again, at least he isn't one of them yea-sayers. This positive Putts report makes the R-D1 an even more attractive camera for me. :)

Sean Reid
03-06-2005, 12:12
Erwin and I have been talking by e-mail and he's revised the RAW cycle time discussion so that its more accurate. As I said above, I think he was quite fair in many respects. I do think, however, that photographers who don't have a lot of experience with digital capture may not be aware that almost all digital captures (RAW) are a bit soft because of the camera's AA filter. Some are moreso than others. A standard step for many (including myself) with digital capture is capture sharpening (I use Photokit) to regain much of what is lost by the AA filter. Some cameras reveal very good detail after that process and some do not. The Epson is in the former group. To really do a useful comparison of a film scan and digital capture, both should first be sharpened appropriately. After all, the real test is how the final print looks after using a proper workflow.

Cheers,

Sean

justins7
03-08-2005, 13:41
I am sorry, but anyone who uses test charts is missing the point. People who use them should stick to their Excel spreadsheets. Maybe if you only care about sharpness, fine. But that is hardly the only important thing.
I haven't used the RD-1, but I've seen great pictures taken with it. The fact of it being a useable, digital rangefinder is far more important.

Doug
03-08-2005, 16:30
Mango, let's not join the sour-puss Photo.net Leica-bashers over there in bashing Mr Puts as well. We're all beginners at something, and the fact he is not overly knowledgeable about motorcycles and digital imaging -- and also not an artiste -- doesn't mean he's not an interestingly knowledgeable expert on lenses. It sounds like Sean is helping him on the digital imaging score.

If he's favorable about Leica lenses, and he surely is, that can reasonably follow from their optical excellence. It's so easy to be overly critical and cynical; let's instead appreciate the appreciable! :)

I'll be very interested to see what he will have to say about the Carl Zeiss lenses in M-mount, once they arrive... an unavoidable commentary.

David Kieltyka
03-08-2005, 19:18
Erwin's Leica Lens Compendium is a very informative book. I recommend it to anyone interested in the design aspects of Leitz & Leica lenses. Aesthetically I find he tends to conflate the quantitative and the qualitative. More--more resolution, more contrast, more recent--is simply assumed to be better. To be fair he does recognize that not everyone shares this view unquestioningly. Keeping this in mind I always find his comments worth reading even when I don't agree with his argument or conclusions.

-Dave-

wlewisiii
03-08-2005, 19:38
Keeping this in mind I always find his comments worth reading even when I don't agree with his argument or conclusions.

-Dave-

There are a fair number of people with a fairly large web presence that I would say this about. Along with Mr. Puts, Mr. Steele and Mr. Gandy come to mind. Both have extensive and valuable sites that contain much good information; but it's never a good thing to accept anyone's assertions unquestioningly. This applies to our hobbies and avocations as much as it does to news and politics.

Many ideas and thougths that are then winnowed in our own minds in the light of our own experiances, that's the way to play the game.

Or at least as well as pop philosophy can do at this time... :p

William

jlw
03-08-2005, 20:40
One way to read Erwin's review s that you don't need to spring for a Summilux ASPH to get the most out of the R-D 1!

I already know that a 6-megapixel image is enough for the vast majority of my photography, and that I prefer to work with a rangefinder camera rather than an SLR.

So what Erwin has documented for me is that I don't need to feel left out because I can't afford a very expensive 50mm lens for my R-D 1 -- there'd be no visible benefit compared to using the lenses that I already own.

I doubt if that's the conclusion he was intending to convey, but it's very liberating!

DaShiv
03-08-2005, 23:56
I'm not so sure about that -- I've seen side-by-side shots on "just" a 4-megapixel Canon 1D showing very clearly discernable differences between even top-notch Canon L lenses (such as between the 100-400 IS and the 200/1.8), nevermind the difference between one and a cheap consumer zoom. I can't speak with any authority about how big the differences in quality are among various rangefinder lenses -- maybe they're all of a higher caliber than SLR lenses (of course, right? :D) -- but my inclination in any case is to disregard tests like Puts's if they disagree with what my eyes tell me from 100% file views and from prints. My experience also tells me though that any difference that I have to zoom in closer than 100% to spot won't show up in prints; indeed, many things I see at 100% won't show up in prints at all. For instance, mild sharpening halos.

YMMV, of course. And my apologies if this only fuels GAS on your part. :D

DaShiv
03-09-2005, 04:05
There are other beginners in the field of RFs and digital capture who for some reason might take stock of Mr Puts's opinions. Surely, therefore, he has a responsibility to get his facts right before he offers his opinions.

Are you saying that Puts, as a reviewer of some repute, should be held to higher factual standards than your average opinion-wielding Internet forumite?

I am... shocked, I tell you. :D

Sean Reid
03-09-2005, 04:14
"So what Erwin has documented for me is that I don't need to feel left out because I can't afford a very expensive 50mm lens for my R-D 1 -- there'd be no visible benefit compared to using the lenses that I already own."

He hasn't documented that at all. As you know, lens performance includes many variables. There are indeed very visible differences among lenses on the R-D1:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/lenses/rd-1-lens.shtml

I enjoyed Erwin's article but one can see how it feeds into a kind of mindset, that seems to have gained momentum in the last few years, regarding cameras and lenses. And the mindset is that somehow by citing numbers measuring some aspect of a camera or lens, one can describe performance generally. That's not the case.

The Canon L lenses made a big difference on even the 3.3 MP D30 - a very visible difference.
The Leica ASPH lenses are stellar performers on the R-D1, look at those corner crops again. The challenge is that they tend to be contrasty.

It aint' all about megapickles
It ain't all about resolution charts
It aint' all about MTF charts

...add your own lines as the spirit strikes you.

Sean

Solinar
03-09-2005, 04:40
I'm an opinion wielding forumite and to me Erwin Puts review signifies that Leicadom has taken notice of the RD-1. Also, with his reputation for not being overtly friendly to non-Leica gear, the RD-1 came out smelling like a rose in my opinion.

My own take on the RD-1, is that this is a camera body that cost 3 times as much as a Nikon D70, which has fewer features overall, but its rangefinder features allows for a more traditional shooting style and allows you to do so with some of your current glass. In that last respect, I can definitely see the RD-1 complimenting a M-body in someone's camera bag.

It would have been better, if the RD-1 was twice the price of a D70 since after all we all still talking about a Cosina platform underneath it all.

Solinar
03-09-2005, 04:44
.....and Sean that's a good point about those corner crops and gee whiz, I hope no one is going to cry about spilt milk, because the corner taken with a 35/1.7 Ultron look better when the lens is closed down a bit to 2.8.

Azinko
03-09-2005, 06:49
Presumably I'm missing something here!.......

I know nothing about digital and also I'm one of the 'numerically dyslexic',....However, my, admittedly quick, skim of the Putts review shows that this extaordinarily expensive piece of jun....sorry!, camera, compares very poorly to a decent 35mm film model,...also one has to actually wind the thing on between frames!!!!!! All this and more for a staggering 4000 US$ (UK equivalent price)......you can buy a good camera for this much! Especially since a prestigous UK authority asseses the production cost of R-D1 at about 250 (490 US$)

Socke
03-09-2005, 07:30
Azinko, but you have to admit, that Puts could get get pictures of equal or less quality on his website with much less work :-)

You can get more than decent results from the R-D1, as we have seen here. It's just like a new film, you have to get used to it.

Or do you shoot Velvia for portraits?

David Kieltyka
03-09-2005, 08:20
Presumably I'm missing something here!.......

Yes, you're missing the fact that the R-D1 is capable of first-class results in the hands of a capable photographer. :) Despite Erwin's blurry (and likely misfocused) test chart shot the camera delivers the goods. The price is indeed high--IMO higher than it should be--but OTOH I've run the equivalent of about 50 rolls of film through mine over the past few months. A couple years of this or less and the R-D1 will have paid for itself in eliminated film & processing costs and scanning time & hassle.

-Dave-

Sean Reid
03-09-2005, 10:11
Presumably I'm missing something here!.......

I know nothing about digital and also I'm one of the 'numerically dyslexic',....However, my, admittedly quick, skim of the Putts review shows that this extaordinarily expensive piece of jun....sorry!, camera, compares very poorly to a decent 35mm film model,...also one has to actually wind the thing on between frames!!!!!! All this and more for a staggering 4000 US$ (UK equivalent price)......you can buy a good camera for this much! Especially since a prestigous UK authority asseses the production cost of R-D1 at about 250 (490 US$)

And that, in a nutshell, is why such reviews can be misleading. Use the camera for a couple months and then report back to us. Till then, you're talking mostly out of your...hat.

Prestigious UK what...? Don't believe everything you read. Or, if you really believe that, start a camera company making cameras just like the R-D1 and sell them for $500 each. No doubt, you'll make a fortune. Forgive my lack of gentility but some of this B.S. really starts to strain my patience.


Cheers,

Sean

sevres_babylone
03-09-2005, 15:20
Am I going crazy, or has there been a substantial change to the conclusion of the Erwin Puts review. It seems to be a much more sympathetic conclusion than when I first read it.

Sean Reid
03-09-2005, 15:28
You know, I think you may be right. I think he rewrote it and added a paragraph (or my memory is failing, which is possible). Good for him if he rethought the review and revised accordingly.

Cheers,

Sean

Azinko
03-09-2005, 16:04
Sean,.....

"............. Use the camera for a couple months and then report back to us. Till then, you're talking mostly out of your...hat....."

......but surely that is the whole point of this or any other review especially with a name like 'Erwin Puttts' clipped to it,...I know nothing about the camera or about digital itself,...i HAVE to take the word of someone with a notable reputation .

If YOU could put yourself in my perspective would YOU buy a 4000US$ camera on the basis of the muddy looking file in the review when next to it is a much healthier looking film specimen made with the same lens???

Frankly, telling people they are talking out of their 'hats' until they have used something for a couple of months is not only impolite but hardly realistic,...let alone intelligent. Also, its not in the usual spirit of this forum even if you are kind of besotted with your new toy!!

Ed Schwartzreic
03-09-2005, 16:16
There have been many reviews of the R-D1 before Erwin's which he could have turned to for potential reference. From reading, and then recently rereading his review, I agree that he changed his conclusion. The feedback from here, perhaps from prior reviews, and perhaps elsewhere that we do not know about may have caused this.

I did not buy my R-D1 until I had intensively used Tom Abrahamsson's loaner for 2 weeks. It ought to take time to form an opinion.

Ed

Socke
03-09-2005, 16:24
Sean,.....

.........

If YOU could put yourself in my perspective would YOU buy a 4000US$ camera on the basis of the muddy looking file in the review when next to it is a much healthier looking film specimen made with the same lens???

Azinko, read Seans review and have a look at his pictures.

Have a look at others pictures here, as well.

And then look up Calumets prices for the Epson R-D1, it is cheaper than a Leica MP or M7.

I'm in for one!

aizan
03-09-2005, 16:30
i think sean's already said that it sharpens up well. you still have to "develop" your digital photos, you know.

and erwin really could have done a better job on this review. he's self-publishing, for crying out loud!

Trius
03-09-2005, 16:34
"It aint' all about megapickles
It ain't all about resolution charts
It aint' all about MTF charts"
... it's about the PICS!

Solinar
03-09-2005, 16:38
Frankly, telling people they are talking out of their 'hats' until they have used something for a couple of months is not only impolite but hardly realistic,...let alone intelligent. Also, its not in the usual spirit of this forum even if you are kind of besotted with your new toy!!

Bob, you're digging yourself deeper into a hole. One, the RD-1 is not a toy. Two, Sean is talking from experience of using the camera for a couple of months. Three, no matter what critics may think of Erwin Puts, the fact that he wrote a review is indicative that the Leica world has taken notice.

We all know that the RD-1 will not be an heirloom passed on to the grandchildren.

Whether or not you agree with the pricing of the camera is immaterial. Even if the ingredients cost a mere $500 a copy to produce, there are development and marketing costs. Although, I doubt that Epson/Cosina will produce their entire stated 10,000 camera production run, its street price may come down within a year or two.

Is there currently a premium added to this only digital rangefinder entry? Absolutely.

Trius
03-09-2005, 16:41
Sorry to be rude... I'm new here. I used to have an M-3 w/ 3 lenses, but sold off and now have OM and Toyo field equipment. Have started to buy fixed lens rangefinders (mainly Olympus: SP, RC, XA, plus a Hi-Matic and a Konica C-35), and am contemplating diving back in to Leica mount again.

Trius

Sean Reid
03-09-2005, 16:56
Azinko wrote:

"......but surely that is the whole point of this or any other review especially with a name like 'Erwin Puttts' clipped to it,...I know nothing about the camera or about digital itself,...i HAVE to take the word of someone with a notable reputation ."

No you don't. Take any review, including mine, with a grain of salt if need be.

"If YOU could put yourself in my perspective would YOU buy a 4000US$ camera on the basis of the muddy looking file in the review when next to it is a much healthier looking film specimen made with the same lens???"

I might well buy this particular $3000 camera based on what I read in my own reviews. But I think that I might also buy it from a place that had a return policy in case it wasn't what I hoped for. I bought the camera in mid-November and have used it for about four months. Erwin's review was interesting but limited.

"Frankly, telling people they are talking out of their 'hats' until they have used something for a couple of months is not only impolite but hardly realistic,...let alone intelligent. Also, its not in the usual spirit of this forum even if you are kind of besotted with your new toy!!"

It's true that its out of the usual spirit here but if you've never used the camera and come onto a forum devoted to it and start calling it junk, you're setting yourself up. And the fact remains that you are indeed talking out of your hat because you don't have direct experience with the camera. Anyone in that situation is talking out of his or her hat. As for the toy comment....I'm not a hobbyist...I'm a professional photographer and have already earned money with this camera. I don't have the luxury of buying toys; if a camera or lens isn't functional for my work I don't buy it or don't keep it.

Let's not turn this into an argument. If you get a chance to use the camera for a couple of weeks and have criticisms, I'm all ears. But to start insulting the camera based on Erwin's review is bound to trigger responses from people who know it firsthand and have a limited B.S. tolerance.

Cheers,

Sean

Solinar
03-09-2005, 17:06
First let me welcome Trius. How is the weather in Rochester? Next, let me stand corrected on saying Sean has had the RD-1 for two months, its four. I may be a film curmugean, but I'm willing to learn a new medium, if suites my shooting style. Hence, my interest in what users of the RD-1 have to say.

Sean Reid
03-09-2005, 17:40
Yes, welcome Trius. You've discovered RFF, one of the gems of the Internet.

Cheers,

Sean

Trius
03-09-2005, 19:04
Andrew & Sean:

Thanks for the welcome. RFF is indeed one of the gems of the net. Your review of the R-D1, Sean, eventually lead me here. In know GeneW here, as he is also on the OM list and we have corresponded privately, and I am anticipating Gene and I will meet in Toronto for some casual shooting and a coffee shop chat this Spring.

As I said, I owned an M3 (early to late 80s) with 21 Super Angulon (f3.4? I think), 50mm DR and 90mm Summicron. After I acquired a 21/f2 Zuiko for the OMs and saw its quality, I decided that since I had left the ranks of professional photography, I couldn't really justify keeping the Leica gear. Besides, I needed the monehy. I also had Rollei SL66 gear that I sold, leaving me with an XA, some OM gear and Toyo/Fujinon kit.

Due to personal cricumstances and the busy-ness of life, I dropped out of photography as a hobby as well. But a year or so ago I got interested again. I had given a fair amount of tutelage to my best friend in Brampton, Ontario with regard to composition, technique, etc., and as he progressed the fires were rekindled a bit. So, I have been spending way too much time on that horrible, awful auction place, and have picked up additional OM gear, and got fascinated with rangefinders again.

What I have found is that in addition to the difference in handling and speed of shooting an RF, I also now SEE better through that viewfinder. Some of it probably has to do with the changes in my eyes. Even with a really good varifocal contact lens prescription, I probably need a diopter for my OMs. But with the rangefinders I feel more relaxed; it's more like the extension of my eye-brain that I remember and want to have there.

Trius

Weather in Rochester? Nothing that a Canadian can't handle, but we still have lots of snow on the ground and cold temps. My daughter, who lives with her mum in Stratford, has next week of for March break. I'll go pick her up Saturday, which pretty much guarantees a snow storm. ;) 4WD and snowtires should see me through.

DougK
03-09-2005, 19:44
I don't have a lot of experience reading Mr. Puts' reviews, nor do I have hands-on experience with the RD-1, but his review seemed positive to me. I don't think he took the best care with the photos he shot with the camera but he did praise several aspects of the camera and he definitely seemed to make a strong effort to be reasonably fair and balanced.

Moving slightly off-topic, it's always nice to have more opinions to read. I think Sean is right about the proper frame of mind to read these reviews from (BTW, I liked the thoroughness of your review, Sean). If I had believed everything I read about the noise levels from the Minolta Dimage 7i when I was shopping for a digital camera a couple of years ago without going to the photo store and seeing it for myself, I would have written it off. Instead, I decided to go see for myself... guess which camera I wound up buying?

Sometimes, it's best to just see for yourself.

Sean Reid
03-10-2005, 04:54
"Sometimes, it's best to just see for yourself."

Absolutely true. The only thing I would add to that is that it sometimes takes a little while of using a camera and looking at the results to decide if it's the right "match" for a given photographer.

Cheers,

Sean

tamerlin
03-10-2005, 06:43
Prestigious UK what...? Don't believe everything you read. Or, if you really believe that, start a camera company making cameras just like the R-D1 and sell them for $500 each. No doubt, you'll make a fortune. Forgive my lack of gentility but some of this B.S. really starts to strain my patience.


It may not be BS; for one thing, production cost rarely includes R&D or marketing costs, and if
they're using any sort of automation, the labor costs when amortized over an entire production
run probably won't be very large, and neither will the material costs.

However, for a variety of reasons including the fact that the production costs generally don't
include R&D and marketing costs, the price doesn't typically have a very direct correlation to
cost. Usually, the guys that decide on the price go out and look at the rest of the market, figure
out what price they think the market will bear, and charge that much. If they're right, the product
will sell, they'll make their target profits, and they make money.

vincenzo
03-11-2005, 11:12
Its good to see that erwin adjusted his review/conclusions about the rd-1. Due in no small part to the diligence of a member(s?) of this forum. If nobody made an effort to illustrate to Mr Putts the shortcomings of his review a lot of people would end up with a warped and innacurrate view of the rd-1. Although its obvious that no amount of effort will help everyone, especially those among us who have a prediliction for carping...

Sean Reid
04-07-2005, 05:57
Erwin Puts has added a new and very interesting section to his R-D1 review (just came across it yesterday). http://www.imx.nl/photosite/japan/epsonrd1/epsonrd1B.html

I think it's worth reading by anyone who was interested in his initial review. I certainly enjoyed it.

Cheers,

Sean